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Well, I started teaching math today. Let’s just say, my improving skills at reading comprehension didn’t transfer over well. I failed pretty miserably today at teaching my kids to identify subtraction questions in word problems. It was a difficult objective (particularly for students who have trouble reading), my students were behind where I thought they’d be skill-wise, I was disorganized, and I really had no clue how to teach a math lesson. I was all over the place, which meant my kids were all over the place, both academically and behaviorally (though at least “bad” behavior for them isn’t really that bad). To make matters worse, I was incredibly nervous during the lesson because I was being observed by both my CMA and by another CM who wanted to learn something from the way I taught. I think the only thing the other CM learned was how not to teach math.

Still, despite the fact that I was pretty upset after the lesson, I’m a lot more optimistic than I was after my first real day of teaching. My first reading comprehension was a disaster (though not quite this bad, I think!), but I learned from it, and was doing much better by the second week. I’m hopeful that my math lessons will similarly improve, so that I don’t fail so much in front of my students this fall!
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Not much to report for this past week. The highs and lows have mostly evened out for the moment, and I’m getting into the groove of lesson planning, teaching, and attending sessions. My kids are great (most of the time…), and I’m getting much better at teaching them, though I still sometimes have trouble being consistent with behavior management and with breaking things down to a second grade level. But as I always say to my CMA, “I’m learning!” I have tons still to learn, but at least I can tell I’m making progress.

I suppose the highlights of this week have actually been my breaks from all the TFA stuff. We were surprised on Tuesday with TFA day, or a day with a Totally Free Afternoon. It was great. I spent the afternoon chilling out in the pool, which was free for the day (since I was cheap and didn’t buy a gym membership this summer).

This weekend has also been great. Friday night, 6 other Tulsa CMs and I made our way to Flagstaff, where we hung out in a tiny bar and then crammed into 1 tiny room at the Motel 6 for a night. You do what you gotta do when you have no income! The next morning, we headed off to the Grand Canyon, which was absolutely breathtaking. (I’ve been once before, but it was January, and I couldn’t see much.) We walked around and climbed down onto ledges, before heading back to Phoenix for the evening. Then today, I celebrated the Fourth with about half of my Tulsa Corps by watching the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks at a baseball game. And we have tomorrow off as well! Though I’ve put off all work so far this weekend, so I’ll have to spend the day catching up on work.

I'm Alive!

Jun. 24th, 2010 08:50 pm
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(Cross-posted from my TFA blog)

Yep, there was some doubt as to whether I’d be able to say that by this point in time. But my first week of teaching at Institute, while rough, was something I survived!

With all the lesson planning and such, I’ve been getting no more than 5 hours of sleep a night, which is the main reason why the week has been hard. For the first couple of days, the teaching itself wasn’t bad. That was mostly because I was only in charge of explaining our rules, rewards, consequences, and some procedures the first day, and get to know you activities the second. But it also helps that my 2nd graders are pretty awesome (most of the time), and there are only 12 of them. Still, I was pretty exhausted, since beyond my time teaching and lesson planning (using TFA’s very lengthy and particular template), I still had lots of sessions and workshops.

Yesterday was about my breaking point. Tuesday I had trouble waking up and staying awake during sessions, and yesterday was about the same. Beyond that, though, my first academic lesson plan didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. My read aloud was fun, but I just didn’t do a good job explaining setting and its importance to the plot, because my kids didn’t get it at all. I also ran out of time (which was a problem today as well). I was fairly upset by the end of the period, and almost started crying when talking about my lesson to other CMs and my CMA. It wasn’t even that big of a deal, in retrospect (after all, it was my first real lesson!), but when we’re running on so little sleep, everyone’s emotions are heightened. I walk by the halls, and every day I see at least one person crying. And talking to people, I don’t think there’s even one girl who hasn’t cried over something this week, and often that something was really actually pretty minor.

Today was better though! My kids seemed to get what I was teaching them (though I may have helped them too much on their independent work), and I was operating on slightly more sleep (it’s sad when two nights in a row of 5 hours of sleep makes me feel this much better, since I’d been getting less before that.) My CMA observed the last part of my lesson today, and my FA said as the kids were leaving for lunch that both she and my CMA gave me two thumbs up for the lesson today! Most excitingly, I have nothing to do before tomorrow! I get to go to bed before midnight! I still have to wake up early, because we still have sessions tomorrow, but at least we get up early.

Anyway, that has been my roller coaster week. Hopefully things will just get better from here on out, as I get more experienced (and have somewhat less to do!).

Oh! One more BIG thing! I have a placement!!! Well, mostly. I found out that I am almost certainly teaching 5th grade next year, though I don’t know the school. Hooray! Not only am I staying in elementary, but I get to teach upper elementary, which is what I wanted. My 2nd graders are awesome, and there are definitely some great things about teaching younger kids, but I’m excited for the things I can do with older kids that I can’t do with younger kids.

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bookaddict88

January 2012

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